The Federal Aviation Administration ordered a full ground stop for all West Coast airports Monday (January 11), which Daily Mail reports took place “around the same time as” North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea off Japan,
San Diego International Airport officials confirmed the halt, noting that it only lasted seven minutes, but didn’t give an explanation as to why it took place or whether it was in relation to the missile launch.
Sabrina LoPiccolo, a spokesperson for San Diego International Airport, said they received instructions for the ground stop at around 2:30 p.m. local time, but added, “we really don’t have any more details,” according to Daily Mail.
The FAA did not respond to Daily Mail‘s request for comment in relation to the stoppage prior to publication Tuesday (January 12) morning.
NBAA.org defines a ground stop as “a traffic management initiative (TMI) requiring aircraft that meet specific criteria to remain on the ground at their origination airport.”
The apparent missile launch on Monday is the second from North Korea during the past week amid leader Kim Jong Un‘s public call for the country to expand its nuclear weapons program, despite international opposition, including South Korea, whose Joint Chiefs of Staff referred to the launch as a “clear violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions, NBC News reports.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff also pointed out that the latest launch demonstrated even more advanced capability than North Korea’s launch the week prior.
North Korea had previously undergone a series of weapons tests in 2021 in an effort to expand its military capabilities as it finds itself deadlocked in nuclear discussions with the United States.